Welcome to 43 Years, a blog devoted to the futility, frustrations, and obsessions that come from being a lifelong Cleveland sports fan. Since it's my first post, I thought I'd answer a few questions from my loyal readers:
1.) Why did you decide to put this blog together?
There are lots of fantastic blogs out there about sports, and some about Cleveland sports in particular. But I don't think any of the blogs yet focus on the sheer gamut of emotions that Cleveland fans face when it comes to sports--the initial, feeble attempts at optimism, the pessimism that eventually clouds our minds, the sinking feeling of desperation when we see that Larry Hughes is the person who will be taking a 10-foot shot to win game 2 against Detroit (after LeBron got mauled). Case in point: when the Browns had the good fortune to land both Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn in the first round of the NFL draft, I was elated. Then, within five minutes of the second pick, my friend Scott (also from Cleveland) posted the following message on my facebook wall:
"$10 says Thomas falls into Quinn three games into the preseason, injuring them both."
Honestly, what other fan base in the nation could really come up with something like that? And don't you feel so much more enriched for reading it? So, that's my goal--to document what it's like to be a Cavs, Indians, and Browns fan; to occasionally share some thoughts on what the teams could do to improve; and, hopefully, to get Bill Simmons, Henry Abbott, or Brian Windhorst to notice me.
2.) Fan from Chicago, Boston, insert-other-"cursed"-sports-town-here: "Hey, you ass, my [Cubs haven't won a World Series in eighty years] [Celtics just lost a chance to draft Oden and Durant] [team generally blows worse than yours], what makes you think that it's so bad to be from Cleveland that you have to blog about it?"
The answer is simple. I maintain that no other sports town is as holistically cursed as Cleveland. Yes, the Cubs have had some hard luck--but the Bulls won six NBA titles over the past 15 years, and the Bears were just in the Super Bowl and have a chance to get back. And if you're a White Sox fan and are complaining, you deserve to die. For Boston fans: yes, Kevin Durant is awesome and it sucks that you missed out on him. But, um, the Pats won several Super Bowls and are a perennial contender; and the Red Sox won it all a few years back.
Cleveland, on the other hand, has had no championships AT ALL in the last 43 years. Two World Series runner-ups, a handful of Eastern Conference finals appearances, no good football to really speak of (in my lifetime, at least). So, suck it.
3.) Wow, that was really smooth--the way you worked an explanation for the title of the blog into one of your answers.
Not a question, but yeah, wasn't it?
4.) What were some alternate titles for the blog?
Before settling on 43 Years, I went through a lot of options in my head. Here were the top five, countdown-style:
5.) 60 Million -- this is the amount of money that Larry Hughes gets paid. I ultimately decided against this title because Hughes seems like a good person and really could be a good number 2 for LeBron. I actually believe this (I may be the only person in Cleveland who does). The problem is, he never plays the way he should--slashing to the hoop, shooting in rhythm from within 20 feet, moving off the ball to take some pressure off LeBron. But that's neither here nor there--the amount of his contract is pretty staggering.
4.) The Curse of LeCharles Bentley -- I read "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" as a kid and loved it. As a younger Cleveland fan, I think of the Bentley injury as symbolic: we finally do something right in the free agent market in addressing our offensive line with a Pro-Bowl player . . . and he blows out his knee on the first play of practice.
3.) Magic Dust -- who doesn't love it when LeBron throws talcum in the air to start a game? But, the title would be too effete, and, well, too optimistic. Plus, if people thought I were a Magic fan, I'd quit sports.
2.) I don't remember the exact quote, but I considered naming the blog whatever Tim Couch said that time he had a concussion and started crying. What a great moment for Cleveland.
1.5) "River on Fire" -- this one is for my buddy Jordan, who is a Pistons fan and brought up the Cuyahoga River debacle last night. Talk about adding insult to injury.
(Drumroll for Number One):
1.) "Third Quarter Meltdown." I hatched this idea yesterday night when I watched the Cavs melt down in the third quarter (as they have in the previous 90 games this year.) Watching that happen really sums up the range of emotions you feel as a Cleveland fan--optimism as the team builds up a good lead, confusion when they decide to change the lineup from what was working, and then fury when they blow it. I actually proposed the idea for the blog to my girlfriend under this name, and she rolled her eyes at me (as she often does, but she's generally probably right to). Little did she know how much spare time I would have at work.
So, hopefully I have answered all your questions and enticed you to keep reading. Stay tuned for links to some fantastic sports blogs that are much better than this one, as well as my analysis of Game 2 of Cavs-Pistons.